The Normal Heart

11 12 Season

The Normal Heart Poster

By Larry Kramer
Directed by Joel Greenberg

In association with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

October 14 – November 6, 2011

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Larry Kramer’s landmark play about love and loss in the 1980s chronicles the rise of the AIDS crisis in New York City, seen through the eyes of writer/activist Ned Weeks as he battles against a world unwilling to confront the epidemic.

The Normal Heart’s call to arms caught audiences by storm when it was first performed in 1985. It became the longest-running play in the history of New York’s Public Theater, and is widely considered to be one of the most significant plays of the 20th century. Today, this document of recent history is as relevant and powerful as it ever was – a reminder that battles for justice, equality and dignity are not just things of the past.

Studio 180 was pleased to work in association with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre once again, seven years after partnering to bring Toronto audiences our acclaimed production of The Laramie Project.

Dora Award Nomination: Outstanding Performance, Ryan Kelly

Listed amongst the top ten performances of the year by NOW Magazine, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, Slotkin Letter & CIUT 89.5 FM.

Written by Larry Kramer
Directed by Joel Greenberg
Featuring John Bourgeois, Mark Crawford, Paul Essiembre, Ryan Kelly, Mark McGrinder, Jeff Miller, Sarah Orenstein, Jonathan Seinen, and Jonathan Wilson
Stage Managed by Robert Harding
Assistant Stage Managed by Sarah Bustard
Apprentice Stage Managed by Suzanne McArthur
Scenery and Costume Designed by John Thompson
Lighting Designed by Kimberly Purtell
Sound Designed by Verne Good
Production Managed by Nathaniel Kennedy
Associate Costume Designed by Michelle Bailey

Beyond the Stage events
AIDS Memorabilia, Articles & Artwork

October 14 – November 6, 2011

HIV/AIDS in Toronto: Past, Present & Future

October 23, 2011

How HIV/AIDS Impacts Community

October 30, 2011


Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer


Larry Kramer founded Gay Men’s Health Crisis in 1981 with five friends; the organization remains one of the world’s largest providers of services to those with AIDS. In 1987, he founded ACT UP, the AIDS advocacy and protest organization, which has been responsible for the development and release of almost every life-saving treatment for HIV/AIDS.

Kramer was the author of The Normal Heart, which was selected as one of the 100 Greatest Plays of the Twentieth Century by the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain and is the longest running play in the history of the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Public Theater. He was also the author of The Destiny of Me, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and won an Obie and the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Play. Both The Normal Heart and The Destiny of Me are published by the Samuel French imprint of Concord Theatricals.

Mr. Kramer’s screenplay adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love, a film he also produced, was nominated for an Academy Award. His writing about AIDS is published in Reports from the Holocaust: The Story of an AIDS Activist and The Tragedy of Today’s Gays. His novel Faggots is one of the bestselling of all gay novels.

He was a recipient of the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and he was the first openly gay person and the first creative artist to be honored by an award from Common Cause. The American People, Kramer ‘s reimagining of American history, was begun 1975 and published in 2015.

Kramer was the winner of a 2013 PEN Literary Award, receiving the Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for a Master American Dramatist. A graduate of Yale, Kramer lived in New York and Connecticut with his lover, architect/designer David Webster.

Joel Greenberg

Joel Greenberg


For Studio 180: Clybourne Park, Our Class, Parade, The Overwhelming, Stuff Happens, Blackbird, The Arab-Israeli Cookbook, The Passion of the Chris & The Laramie Project. A co-founder of Studio 180, Joel is a Chalmers and Dora award–winning playwright and director who has directed productions across Canada. Elsewhere: Ain’t Misbevain‘, What the Butler Saw, Taking Sides, Vanities, Bells Are Ringing, Second City (Toronto and Chicago), Dames at Sea (too many times), Tonight at 8:00…8:30 in Newfoundland (all three editions), The Foreigner, Alice, Drink the Mercury and The Nuclear Power Play. Joel taught at Humber College Theatre School from 1984 to 1989 and the Drama Department at the University of Waterloo from 1991 to 2014, also serving as the Chair of each department.

John Bourgeois

John Bourgeois

Ben Weeks

For Studio 180: debut. Selected theatre: The Tempest (Prospero), The PriceThe GoatLost in YonkersOleannaCherry DocsFrankie & Johnny (Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre); Tamara (Off-Broadway); Gaslight (Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia); Troilus and Cressida (Stratford Festival); and M. Butterfly (Theatre Aquarius). Selected directing: After Miss Julie (Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre), Decadence (Ziggurat Theatre – Dora Nomination), Taming of the Shrew (Skylight Theatre – Dora Nomination), Rough Crossing (Centaur Theatre) and Bag Babies (Theatre Passe Muraille). Writing: Tansey’s Brag (Ziggurat Theatre, Toronto Fringe, Bravo TV & CBC Radio), Walking on Crimson (Ziggurat Theatre). Teaching: U of T, George Brown, York. Faculty at Humber College. Director of Screen Acting program at Humber College. Recent TV credits: Day Late, Dollar ShortCopper, Covert Affairs and The Firm. Other: produced and directed the original short feature film, Jimmy Pacheco (Best Comedy at Mill Valley Festival and Yorktown Film Festival). In production: After Lola (feature length project with graduates of the Acting for Film and TV program at Humber).

Mark Crawford

Mark Crawford

Craig Donner/Grady/Orderly

For Studio 180: debut. Most recently, Mark appeared in See How They Run (Theatre Aquarius) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Canadian Stage Shakespeare in High Park). Other theatre credits include The 39 Steps (Magnus Theatre and Globus Theatre); Vimy (Blyth Festival); The Waves (Toronto Fringe); Why We Tortured Him (Hammertheatre); The Tempest (Canadian Stage); The Miser (Sudbury Theatre Centre); Opening Night (Theatre Aquarius); Mary’s WeddingCost of Living (Thousand Islands Playhouse); Peg and the YetiBluenoseDanny, King of the Basement (Carousel Players); Romeo and JulietMuch Ado About Nothing (Driftwood Theatre); and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Festival of Classics); It’s a Wonderful Life (Theatre New Brunswick) and Steven Gallagher’s Memorial (Next Stage Festival).

Paul Essiembre

Paul Essiembre

Bruce Niles

For Studio 180: The Overwhelming & Stuff Happens. Other theatre credits include To Kill a Mockingbird, The Odyssey, The Duchess of Malfi, Don Juan, Macbeth (Stratford Festival); Don Juan (Théâtre du Nouveau Monde); Le Dîner de Cons, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Art (Théâtre Français de Toronto); Tillsonburg (Canadian Stage); Zadie’s Shoes, Oui (Factory Theatre); Sleuth (Saidye Bronfman); Othello (Atlantic Theatre Festival); Picasso at the Lapin Agile (Centaur Theatre); Taming of the Shrew (World Stage Festival); and Goodnight Desdemona/Good Morning Juliet (Great Canadian Theatre Company). Some film and TV: Good Dog (HBO Canada); Covert Affairs (USA Network); Warehouse 13 (SyFy); ReGenesis, Blue Murder (Global); Flashpoint, Degrassi TNG, Plague City, Sue Thomas F.B. Eye (CTV); At the Hotel, The Newsroom, Freedom of the Air, A People’s History of Canada (CBC); Kevin Hill (UPN); Queer as Folk, Coast to Coast (Showtime). Extensive work as a voice artist includes documentary narration, notably on Journey to the Edge of the Universe and Earth: The Making of a Planet for Discovery Canada; animated series, including Silver Surfer (FOX), My Dad the Rock Star (Nelvana) and Rescue Heroes (WB); and countless commercial voice-overs. Upcoming: L’Emmerdeur (Théâtre Français de Toronto).

Ryan Kelly

Ryan Kelly

Mickey Marcus

For Studio 180: debut. Previous theatre credits include Dancing Queen (Buddies in Bad Times), I Have AIDS (Cabaret Co.), Twelfth Night (Direct Flight), Crush (Optic Heart), Craplicker (Best of Fringe ’10), Soulless (505 Prod), Life Like Luv (Rhubarb ’06) and Will the Real JT LeRoy Please Stand Up? (Dora Award, Cabaret Co.). Musical credits include Living With Henry (Outstanding Performance Citation, Off Broadway), Mamma Mia (Mirvish), …Charlie Brown (DaCapo Prod), Hipcheck (Best of Fringe ’09), Robin Hood and Cinderella (Ross Petty), Jesus Christ Superstar (Toronto Youth Theatre), Cordelia (Rhubarb ’10), Suzie Goo Private Secretary (Buddies in Bad Times) and The House of Martin Guerre (Canadian Stage). Film and TV credits include Cosmopolis (Alfama Films), Warehouse 13 (SyFy), Breakout Kings (A&E), Dan for Mayor and The Big One (CTV), Queer as Folk (Showtime), How to Be Indie (YTV), Unlocked (CBC), Broken Tulips (Enroute Fest Winner), The Dog Walker (Genie Nomination – CFC) and Almost Audrey (Canadian Comedy Awards Nomination – Comedy Network). Dora Nomination for The Normal Heart, 2011.

Mark McGrinder

Mark McGrinder

David/Hiram Keebler/Examining Doctor/Orderly

For Studio 180: Clybourne Park, Our Class, Parade, Stuff Happens, Offensive Shadows, The Arab-Israeli Cookbook, The Passion of the Chris & The Laramie Project. Mark is the Artistic Director of Studio 180 Theatre. His Studio 180 performing credits include Oslo, The Nether, You Will Remember Me, Clybourne Park and Stuff Happens. He has been a director and/or dramaturg(e) for many of Studio 180’s IN DEVELOPMENT projects and, as the program’s coordinator, has worked to connect creators with the appropriate collaborators required to bring their visions to the stage. He adapted and directed Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish for PANAMANIA, directed Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays and worked as Associate Director for Blackbird, God of Carnage and Studio 180’s 10th Anniversary reading of The Laramie Project. Mark was a member of the acting ensemble at the Shaw Festival for five seasons and he performed in several reviews with The Second City’s National touring company. He has been head or co-writer on several collective creations (Single and Sexy, That Artz Show and The Berlin Show) and his play MacHamlet was presented as part of the Alumnae Theatre’s New Ideas Festival. As an artist educator he has worked with high school, college and university students in and beyond the GTA and is continually inspired by the passion and vision of the young artists he has had the good fortune to connect with.

Jeff Miller

Jeff Miller

Felix Turner

For Studio 180: The Arab-Israeli Cookbook The Laramie Project. For Studio 180: Cock, The Normal HeartThe Arab-Israeli CookbookThe Laramie Project . Other theatre includes Hana’s SuitcaseTo Kill a Mockingbird, Reading the Signs, Liars (Young People’s Theatre); Same Time Next Year, Half-LifeRabbit HoleLeading Ladies (Sudbury Theatre Centre); Steven Gallagherʼs Craplicker (Toronto Fringe 2010); Mike McPhadenʼs Poochwater, Sean Reycraftʼs One Good Marriage (Theatre Passe Muraille); King Lear (Walking Shadow Theatre); Stones in His PocketsPicasso at the Lapin AgileRumors, The Petrified ForestMoon Over Buffalo (Nipissing Stage); Communicating Doors (Magnus Theatre); The Othello Project (Florida Shakespeare Theater); Love! Valour! Compassion!Twilight of the Golds (Boston Speakeasy Theater); and The Lisbon Traviata (Boston Triangle Theater). TV credits include roles on Good WitchThe StrainMan Seeking Woman and Queer as Folk.

Sarah Orenstein

Dr. Emma Brookner

For Studio 180: Stuff Happens. Sarah has appeared on stages across Canada, from her hometown of Halifax to the Queen Charlotte Islands, winning multiple awards in her career. Some of her many Film and T.V. credits include the film Albatross and the series Station Eleven and Less than Kosher. Selected theatre credits: 13 seasons at Shaw Festival, including Millionairess, Blithe Spirit , Councillor at Law and Heartbreak House, Tarragon Theatre including Patience, Collected Works of Billy The Kid, Scorched (Canadian tour) and The Message, 5 seasons at Stratford Festival, including Shakespeare in Love, Birds of a Kind and Nathan the Wise. She Is strongly committed to new play development and mentoring the next generation of actors and directors.

Jonathan Seinen

Jonathan Seinen

Tommy Boatwright

For Studio 180: debut. Jonathan is an actor, director and theatre creator, Co-Artistic Producer of Architect Theatre, and Artistic Associate with lemonTree creations. Recent acting credits include Highway 63: The Fort Mac Show (Architect/Theatre Passe Muraille), As You Like It (Banff Centre/Citadel Professional Theatre Program), and Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo & Juliet (Theatre Prospero). Directing credits include This Must Be the Place: The CN Tower Show (Architect/Theatre Passe Muraille), Still Life (lemonTree/ SummerWorks), Deathwatch (lemonTree/Pride Toronto) and Hamlet (Swallow-a-Bicycle Performance Co-op, Calgary). Selected playwriting credits include Unknown Pleasures (Sage Theatre) and [ ice land ] (Walterdale Theatre, published in Hot Thespian Action! (Athabasca UP)). A graduate of the University of Alberta and the National Theatre School, Jonathan is currently developing an adaptation of Measure 4 Measure for Moveable Feast/GromKat Productions.

Jonathan Wilson

Ned Weeks

For Studio 180: debut. Past theatre work includes the Canadian premiere of The Lion King (Dora Award – The Princess of Wales Theatre) and performances in his own play My Own Private Oshawa (Governor General’s Award nominee, Dora/Chalmers Nomination – Tarragon Theatre, New Yorker Theatre). Jonathan was also a writer and performer with The Second City for six shows (Dora Nomination). Other theatre credits include The Drowsy ChaperoneMoonlight and Magnolias (Sudbury Theatre Centre); The Clockmaker (Thousand Islands Playhouse); Possible WorldsThe Duchess (Theatre Passe Muraille); Not To Be RepeatedMedici Slot Machine (Tarragon Extra Space); Cinderella (The Elgin Theatre); This Could Be Love (The Poor Alex); and Annie Get Your Gun (Massey Hall). Jonathan was also writer in residence at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto where he wrote the play Kilt (Dora/New York Drama Desk nominations), which has had over 20 productions around the world. TV and film credits include Not To Be Repeated (CTV/The Comedy Network), My Own Private Oshawa (Gemini Nomination – CTV), Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye (Pax Network/CTV), Murdoch Mysteries (CityTV), This Is Wonderland (CBC), Life With Derek (Family) and Monk (USA Network), as well as hundreds of voices for animated series including SkatoonyIggy Arbuckle (Gemini Nomination), Pearlie and Little Bear.

Robert Harding

Robert Harding

Stage Manager

For Studio 180: Clybourne Park, Our Class, Parade, Stuff Happens & Blackbird. Credits elsewhere include Divisidero: A PerformanceThis Is What Happens Next (Necessary Angel); Side by Side by Sondheim (The Grand Theatre); “Master Harold”…and the boys (Thousand Islands Playhouse); Happy Days (Theatre Columbus); Another Home InvasionCommunionA Beautiful ViewHow It WorksPast Perfect (Tarragon Theatre); FestenMarion BridgeA Whistle in the Dark (Company Theatre); British Invasion!British Invasion 2: America Strikes Back! (Charlottetown Festival); Seussical (YPT); Carmela’s Table (Centaur Theatre); and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Resurgence Theatre).

Sarah Bustard

Sarah Bustard

Assistant Stage Manager

For Studio 180: Clybourne Park, Our Class, Parade, Stuff Happens & Blackbird. Sarah grew up in Carleton Place, Ontario, graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston and now calls Toronto home. Select credits include Night (Human Cargo); Lost in YonkersTuesdays with MorrieKindertransport (Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company); The Gifts of the Magi (Theatre New Brunswick); White Rabbit Red Rabbit (SummerWorks); AndromacheHamlet (Necessary Angel); La clemenza di Tito (Opera Atelier); The Big LeagueForbidden Phoenix (YPT); Madhouse Variations (Eldritch Theatre); Twelfth Night (Co-op, GromKat/Direct Flight); The Cherry Orchard (Soulpepper); The Tempest (Canadian Stage); Madama Butterfly (Opera Hamilton); Evil Dead, The Musical (Independent); The Beggar’s OperaTrying (Thousand Islands Playhouse); Wade in the Water and The Goat, or, Who is Sylvia? (Centaur Theatre Company).

Suzanne McArthur

Suzanne McArthur

Apprentice Stage Manager

For Studio 180: debut. Other credits include Perfect Wedding (Drayton Entertainment); HosannaThe Tempest (Stratford Festival); Forests (Tarragon Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s DreamEd’s GarageSide by Side by SondheimPride and PrejudiceThe Wizard of Oz, Playwrights Cabaret, Dance Legends (The Grand Theatre); Storm WarningWrong for Each OtherKnickers: A Brief Comedy (Port Stanley Festival Theatre); Beauty and the Beast (Silver Mist Productions); The Last 15 SecondsSeasons of Immigration (MT Space); SchoolhouseThe Last Green HillThe Art of Silent Killing (4th Line Theatre); Potato Chips (Theatre Beyond Words); and Little Shop of HorrorsThe Rocky Horror Show (Theatre in Port). Production Assistant for West Side StoryMacbethCyrano de BergeracA Midsummer Night’s Dream (Stratford Festival).

John Thompson

Scenery and Costume Designer

For Studio 180: Our Class. Other theatre credits: Speaking in Tongues, The Test, Through the Leaves (Dora Award), Festen, A Whistle in the Dark, Marion Bridge (Company Theatre); Divisadero (Necessary Angel); The Retreat from Moscow, The Tempest, The Clean House, A Christmas Carol, Humble Boy, The Shape of Things (Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre); Waiting for Godot, No Man’s Land, The Mill on the Floss, Betrayal, Twelfth Night, Don Carlos, The Misanthrope (Soulpepper); The Trials of Ezra Pound (Stratford Festival); The Pessimist, Care, Alice’s Affair, Helen’s Necklace, Russell Hill, Little Mercy’s First Murder, The Good Life, Skylight, Girl in the Goldfish Bowl, Earshot, The Road to Hell (Tarragon Theatre); Eternal Hydra (Crow’s Theatre – Dora Award); Caught, Unity (1918), Blood (Theatre Passe Muraille). John teaches design at the University of Toronto Drama Centre.

Kimberly Purtell

Kimberly Purtell

Lighting Designer

For Studio 180: Clybourne Park, Our Class, Parade, The Overwhelming, Stuff Happens & Blackbird. Kimberly is a Toronto based lighting designer for theatre, opera and dance and is thrilled to be working with Studio 180 once again. Her designs have been critically acclaimed across Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Prague, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Moscow and Mongolia. She has designed for the Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival, Canadian Stage Company, Soulpepper Theatre, Mirvish Productions, National Arts Centre and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Pacific Opera Victoria, Opera Philadelphia, Arena Stage in Washington DC, Tapestry Opera, Hamilton Opera, Edmonton Opera, Theatre Calgary, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Citadel Theatre, Place des Arts, among many others. She has also designed productions for the Pan Am Games and the Vancouver and Beijing Cultural Olympiads. Kimberly has received three Dora Mavor Moore Awards, the Pauline McGibbon Award, a Sterling Award, and a Montreal English Theatre Award. She is the Vice President of the Associated Designers of Canada and IATSE ADC659.

Verne Good

Verne Good

Sound Designer

For Studio 180: debut. Other theatre credits include: Cake and DirtWas Spring, Communion (Tarragon Theatre), sound design and original music for The Atomic Weight of Happiness (Stand Up Dance); The Red Queen Effect, Stockholm (Seventh Stage Theatre Productions). Sound design for The Mountaintop (The Grand Theatre); PericlesHirsch (Stratford Festival); Bingo! (Factory Theatre); OutsideIn This World (Roseneath); Queer Bathroom Stories (Buddies in Bad Times); Free as Injuns (Native Earth Performing Arts). Verne is a personal trainer, a poet and a graduate of Bishop’s University, National Theatre School and Humber College.

Nathaniel Kennedy

Nathaniel Kennedy

Production Manager

For Studio 180: Clybourne Park, Our Class, Parade, The Overwhelming, Stuff Happens, Blackbird & Offensive Shadows. Nathaniel has worked in theatre production across Canada and internationally. Most recently he has worked with Tarragon Theatre, Necessary Angel and Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People. Nathaniel is currently a Special Events Supervisor for the City of Toronto.

Michelle Bailey

Michelle Bailey

Associate Costume Designer & Head of Wardrobe

For Studio 180: Clybourne Park, Our Class & Parade. Michelle lives and works in Toronto as a professional costumer for theatre, primarily as Head of Wardrobe for Tarragon Theatre. Her Tarragon work includes MimiIf We Were BirdsForestsAfter Akhmatova and The Misanthrope. Select design credits include The Red Queen Effect (Dora Nomination, Seventh Stage Theatre) and King LearComedy of ErrorsTwelfth NightMacbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Driftwood Theatre).


The cast of The Normal Heart. Photo by John Karastamatis.
Jonathan Wilson in The Normal Heart. Photo by John Karastamatis.
Sarah Orenstein and Jonathan Wilson in The Normal Heart. Photo by John Karastamatis.
Jeff Miller and Jonathan Wilson in The Normal Heart. Photo by John Karastamatis.
Ryan Kelly in The Normal Heart. Photo by John Karastamatis.
Ryan Kelly and Mark Crawford in The Normal Heart. Photo by John Karastamatis.
John Bourgeois and Jonathan Wilson in The Normal Heart. Photo by John Karastamatis.
Sarah Orenstein and Jeff Miller in The Normal Heart. Photo by John Karastamatis.
Jonathan Seinen and Jonathan Wilson in The Normal Heart. Photo by John Karastamatis.
Jeff Miller in The Normal Heart. Photo by John Karastamatis.
Ryan Kelly in The Normal Heart. Photo by John Karastamatis.
Jonathan Seinen and Paul Essiembre in The Normal Heart. Photo by John Karastamatis.
The cast of The Normal Heart. Photo by John Karastamatis.
The cast of The Normal Heart. Photo by John Karastamatis.
Jeff Miller and Sarah Orenstein in The Normal Heart. Photo by John Karastamatis.
Mark McGrinder in The Normal Heart. Photo by John Karastamatis.
Jeff Miller and Jonathan Wilson in The Normal Heart. Photo by John Karastamatis.
Jonathan Wilson and Paul Essiembre in The Normal Heart. Photo by John Karastamatis.
Jonathan Seinen in The Normal Heart. Photo by John Karastamatis.


More brilliant work from one of the most reliably interesting and challenging theatre companies in town.

Toronto Star ★★★★


Globe and Mail ★★★★

Continues to anger, shock and move even three decades after its premiere.

NOW Magazine NNNNN

Damn good theatre!

Toronto Sun ★★★★★

Normal is outstanding!

Stage Door ★★★★★

An involving and passionate production.

Fab Magazine

An intense theatrical experience not to be missed!

Positive Lite

You must go and see it!

Mooney on Theatre

Brilliant marriage between great theatre and great politics.

Torontoist ★★★★ 1/2